As election commission has made it crystal clear that anything announced in an election manifesto is legal and valid as it is a part of the legitimate political system. But other side of the coin is that it is meant to induce the voters, to which Election Commission, ironically has to be a mute spectator.
Though the majority view that the practice is unethical and amounts to bribing and inducement, some people consider it a valid thing and an opportunity that has been created to churn out something good for the voters, even if candidates would never wish to do such things.
Junaid Andrabi, 23 said: “Yes, this may sound an inducement but it is only because of this provision in the election manifesto that candidates make the best promises and if they come to power, have to fulfil them.” “Otherwise they will do nothing for the electorate,” he added.
While Junaid represents the chunk of people that believe that politicians rise to power only to benefit themselves and this is also a majority view but other side of the group considers offering freebies completely unfair.
Sorabh Manocha said: “To me, it sounds completely unfair. It is like bribing innocent people and inducing them to vote for them.” Backing him is Kriti Batra, who said: “It is equivalent to buying votes.” But does it really influence the voters at the time of casting their ballots, Sudipta Sengupta explained: “It emphasizes how seasonal the relationship of politicians is with the common man here. But nevertheless, it works. Indians are by nature deal hunters - so they will fall for it.” Sudipta foresees that at the end of the day such measures are detrimental to democracy. "It will beat the basic function of democracy where you choose a leader on the basis of ideology, trust and vision,” he lamented.
But Shrabani Mukherjee isn’t ready to accept that offering freebies influences the people’s choices. Shrabai said: “We are mature enough to make our choice and freebies actually do not help the politicians if the voters are making informed choices as I would not change my vote for anything." On a ligher note, considering the gifts on offer, she added, "Only if gadgets such as iPad, iPod, iPhone, Galaxy tab, several Gucci bags are offered to me that my vote will be up for grabs."
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